Top 10 Shortstops of All-Time (2015) List

Similar to their second base counterparts, for quite some time, shortstops were known as defensive stoppers with little offensive prowess.  They were usually outstanding with the glove and provided a speed burst on the base paths, but typically were not called upon to be heavy bats in the middle of the lineup.  For some teams, that still holds true and a solid defensive shortstop is still extremely important.  However the position has morphed to a degree of hybrid players that have fielding skills and run-producing bats.  Players like Troy Tulowitzki, Jimmy Rollins, and Alex Rodriguez all play outstanding defensive and have brought in a lot of runs.  These players didn't quite crack our list, but their indicative of how the game has changed.  A-Rod failed to make our list not because of PED use, but simply because he played only 49% of his career games at SS.  Other players to miss our list for similar reasons include Ernie Banks and Robin Yount.  We have softened on our eligibility guidelines, but all three played 50% or less at the position.  The Shortstops to top our list are...

1.  Derek Jeter
2.  Honus Wagner
3.  Cal Ripken
4.  Arky Vaughan
5.  Luke Appling
6.  Joe Cronin
7.  Ozzie Smith
8.  Lou Boudreau
9.  Barry Larkin
10. Luis Aparicio

This was a hard list especially at the top with 3 dynamic game changing players to pick from.  You could put any combination of the 3 up there and have a solid argument.  Jeter has the most hits and runs of anyone on the list, and he possessed intangibles of winning, clutch, and excellence in both the regular season and post season.  He always came up big at the plate and in the field and served as the lynch pin for the Yankees 5 titles during his run.  We made an exception to the pre-1920 rule to put Wagner on the list.  With the most RBI and highest batting average of any SS, it was hard to leave him off.  Yes it was a different time than today, but 8 batting titles is impressive in any era.  Ripken was the Iron Man as most know with a record of games played that will certainly never be beaten.  He was one of the pioneers to change the position to one of great defense and prowess at the plate.  The rest of the list is comprised of MVP winners, remarkable defensive players, speedsters, and guys with high lifetime batting averages.  We'd love to hear your arguments for guys not on the list or how you'd rearrange this one.   

5 comments:

  1. If you're going to include Wagner, he has to be first, no question. It's not that Jeter wasn't a great shortstop, but Wagner absolutely dominated the position. He was also a great fielder, better than Jeter. A-Rod could have knocked him off his perch if he'd stayed at shortstop, but no one else.

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    1. You're probably right in terms of talent... we had to make an exception to our post-1920 rule to get him on here so we sort of felt that if it was close, the nod was going to Jeter. Important to note that none of us are particularly fond of the Yankees, with regards to our rooting interest.

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  2. Robin Yount played more than half his games at Shortstop. So you are clearly wrong there.

    If you are considering defense, it should probably look like this:
    1. Honus Wagner
    2. Cal Ripken
    3. Arky Vaughan
    4. Robin Yount
    5. Derek Jeter

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    1. Not sure we have a hard number... we're looking for more like 70% of their time spent at a position. Yount started 2683 games of which 1468 starts were at SS... slightly less than half.

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  3. It's hard to quantify defense, especially for the old timers, but having seen Ozzie Smith his entire career I have to believe he is in the top 5 shortstops all time.

    I would go:
    1. Wagner
    2.Jeter
    3.Ripken (not nearly as good offensively as most folks think)
    4.Cronin
    5.Smith
    6.Vaughn
    7Appling
    8.Larkin
    9.Boudreau
    10.Joe Sewell (sentimental pick, most difficult player ever to strike out, replaced Ray Chapman, the only MLB on field casualty, for 1920 Indians, was on the field for Wamby's unassisted World Series triple play, played with the Babe and was the oldest living Hall Of famer at the time of his death

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